There has been a wave of news nuggets from Delta Air Lines this week. None are groundbreaking but, in total, it's been a busy week for the folks down in Hapeville.
Launching new service from New York-JFK to Edinburgh, Scotland
Yesterday, Delta inaugurated service between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Edinburgh, Scotland. The service "will initially be operated using a 163-seat Boeing 757-200ER, with a larger 210-seat wide-body Boeing 767-300ER during the summer months, effective June 8, 2016. Beginning September 5, 2016, the 757-200ER will operate on the route." All flights will offer Wi-Fi.
This tells me that, if I want to fly directly to Edinburgh from Kennedy, I would definitely try to fly between June 8 and September 4. I hate flying in 757 Economy for just two hours, much less across the pond. I find that aircraft to have the most cramped, uncomfortable economy-class seating of any aircraft on which I have flown. This would be one trip where money on Comfort+ enhanced seating would be very well spent!
"Flight Fuel" - new in-flight food options
On Tuesday, Delta announced "Flight Fuel," a new in-flight food offering, that replaces the current EATS program.
There will be several flavors included in "Flight Fuel" (pun intended):
- Flight Fuel
- Flight Fuel Premium - offered on transcontinental nonstop flights between JFK and LAX/SFO
- Flight Fuel Hawaii
The announcement touts a non-GMO snack box and uses the standard culinary terms to leave the impression that "Flight Fuel" is a high-end food experience. Let's be honest here - these are food boxes, in domestic airline economy class. No matter how mouth-watering the description, this is likely to be a very ho-hum "dining" experience.
Assisting TSA to reduce long security wait times
Even mainstream media has taken note of the long wait times travelers are experiencing at TSA checkpoints across the nation. Since I have only flown once so far this year and have TSA Pre-Check via my Global Entry membership, I was not aware until recently that things were nearly as bad as right after 9/11. Some have argued that airlines bear a share of the blame as they push more passengers to carry luggage on-board since checked bag fees have become the norm. (Though, these fees are completely avoidable with the most airline co-branded credit cards.) I see some logic in that argument and applaud Delta stepping up to help alleviate these lines.
The airline will be adding staff and providing assistance to the TSA in several ways:
- Staffing support – Providing staffing support at TSA checkpoints for tasks that will free up TSA inspectors to open additional checkpoint lanes at peak where possible or improve throughput. Delta intends to deploy employees or vendors in areas to manage lines, bins and other non-screening tasks. DELTA IS providing nearly $4 million in staffing solutions.
- Engineering and subject matter expertise – Lending subject matter expertise from industrial engineers and other areas to make recommendations on queue design and how checkpoints could be redesigned for a more optimal flow and ease of movement.
- Innovative checkpoint technology – Redesigned, at Delta’s expense, two checkpoint lanes at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. These lanes, a nearly $1 million investment for Delta, opened Tuesday and are expected to increase throughput.
- Complimentary CLEAR enrollment – Partnering with CLEAR to provide complimentary enrollment to Diamond Medallions and preferential pricing to SkyMiles members for expedited document check-in and biometric verification for priority queuing at hubs this year.